A crowded Memorial Stadium watched and listened as Bay City’s Salutatorian Rahul Atodaria reminded his senior classmates that failing isn’t always the worst possible outcome in life.
Instead, it’s Simply giving up and quitting.
“Our greatest weakness is giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time,” Atodaria said as he used a Thomas Edison quote to explain his point to the Bay City High School class of 2016 at the graduation ceremony on Friday night.
“Looking ahead, I urge my fellow graduates to understand that failure might be our final destination but only if we allow that to happen. Our very selves are the only things standing in the way of failure ruining our success, our goals and ultimately, our future. But as long as we keep fighting and working for what’s important to us, failure will never triumph,” Atodaria said.
Friday’s graduation ceremony, which was held outside, went off without a disruption from Mother Nature as the senior class of 237 students was honored.
Rain earlier in the day and again in the forecast threatened to force the ceremony indoors to Keye Ingram Auditorium at Bay City Junior High. Bay City ISD had fully prepared both locations to host the ceremony; however seating capacity for an indoor event would have been limited to three guests per student.
Several stakeholders worked tirelessly to ensure an outdoor ceremony would take place, so as not to prevent anyone from attending. At midday Friday several staff and students were working on the track and field along with a team from McAda Drilling and engineers from the City of Bay City and South Texas Project. Several eyes monitored the radar throughout the afternoon and at 3:30 p.m. the final call was made for the ceremony to be held outdoors at 8 p.m.
“Mr. Townsend and his team did a tremendous job in having two plans in place to ensure that we held the BCHS commencement on June 3, 2016,” said Bay City ISD Superintendent Keith Brown.
“We were also very fortunate to have the help of McAda Drilling, City of Bay City Public Works, STPNOC Weather Forecasts from Mr. Robert McNiel, the BCHS Administrators and Counselors, the BCISD maintenance staff as well as BCHS students Cole Cashion and McKayla Brown for helping make this happen!”
“While preparations for Keye Ingram were integral to ensuring preparedness, our hearts were always set on doing everything we could to make the event possible at Memorial Stadium,” said Bay City High School principal Chris Townsend.
“One of the reasons that my wife and I decided to come back to our home town of Bay City and start our family was because of the amazing people who live in this community. Last Friday’s efforts by so many to ensure commencement ceremony was a success is a prime example of the outstanding people that make our community strong. Our community laid the groundwork for a miracle, and the good Lord took care of the rest. We continue to be extremely blessed!” he added.
The commencement started with the traditional processional as the graduates made their way into the stadium to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance. Taylor MacKenzie gave the welcome before Cole Cashion and Nancy Rodriguez welcomed all the guests.
Zahria Richardson-Battle gave the invocation before Leonard Eaton led the Pledge of Allegiance. The Bay City High School senior choir members performed the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner. After that, Bay City High School principal Chris Townsend recognized the top ten percent members of the class before the Salutatorian Address.
While Atodaria reminded his classmates to never quit, senior Valedictorian Clayton Davis urged Bay City’s graduating class to never forget about those who helped them get to where they are.
“Many of us would not be sitting here without the help of our teachers and friends,” Davis said. “Behind everyone of us are people who gave us their time effort and commitment of giving us the best possible future. Our payment to them is giving nothing less than 110 percent effort for every goal that we strive for.”
Davis preached that success is not the result of one’s own strength.
“It is the culmination of our hard work and the influence of people who have made an influence in our lives,” Davis said. “There will be times when success will be hard to come by. When that happens, be a believer.”
32 members of the senior class were in the National Honor Society and 50 total scholarship recipients.
The class motto was a Milton Berle quote: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”, while the class flower was the bluebonnet.
After the presentation of the diplomas, the senior class members congregated to the west side of the field where they formed a giant circle before tossing their hats in the air as the class song “Tatoos on This Town” by Jason Aldean was played over the loudspeakers.
At that point, parents and other family members joined them on the field.